retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

Fast Company has a story about how insurance company Cigna is partnering with MDLive, which offers telehealth services, to provide a video-based primary care service that will address a dwindling supply of doctors, growing costs, and a growing lack of access to healthcare.

The new service, according to the story, "will give patients the option of choosing their primary care doctor and staying with them, as opposed to being introduced to a new doctor every visit. Before patients meet with their online doctor, they will first have to schedule an appointment with a lab to undergo a blood screening test, so the results will be in the hands of the doctor on the day of the appointment. Before video-chatting with the doctor, patients will also do an interview with an artificially intelligent chatbot (all patient data lives on MDLive’s HIPAA compliant platform and is shared with healthcare providers as well). Doctors, which are all board-certified, then use this interview, the lab results, and physical cues to diagnose patients, write prescriptions, or make further recommendations for screenings or specialty care."

While there almost certainly will be some shortcomings in the system, it also seems likely that, if properly used and implemented, it will provide access to some level of healthcare that a lot of people may not have had.

It also speaks to the changes taking place in healthcare that are affecting retailers, as companies such as Walmart, CVS and Amazon are investing enormous amounts of money in finding new approaches that can build on their strengths and accessibility to create new connections to their shoppers.

That seems to be a big and Eye-Opening part of the game these days. The question seems to be how retailers are going to play, not if they should play.
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